What Are The Warriors Doing?

September 10, 2007

girl_with_dunce_cao.jpgOver the weekend, two items of Warriors news got us thinking.

First came the news that a very unhappy Don Nelson headed back to his home in Hawaii after contract negotiations went absolutely nowhere:

Nelson would like to put pressure on the Warriors to move off their one and only offer. That proposal would increase Nelson’s base salary per season from $3.1 million to $5.1 million, but it inserts a team option for the second and final season, meaning Nelson would face a decrease of $1.1 million in guaranteed money.

Then Sarunas Jasikevicius had this to say about his employers:

“I’m really waiting for [Golden State] to trade me. It’s been going on since February, and nothing’s happening. I really don’t understand this franchise, to be honest with you. I know what kind of offers they got for me, and they’re not taking them. I know they’re not planning on using me, so I really don’t understand what they’re trying to do with me. In that league, absolutely nothing depends on me, so I’m sitting by the phone and waiting.”

We agree with Sarunas: the kid can obviously ball (he’s leading the Euro tourney in assists), he’s a star in international ball, has value around the league and doesn’t fit in the Warriors’ system. He’s not going to play here and has a hefty salary, but the front office won’t deal him?

All this comes on the heels of an offseason that also saw Mully and Co. basically risk pissing off Baron (aka their star/meal-ticket) by denying him an extension, fail to acquire a real backup point guard, get nowhere on contract talks with Monta Ellis and/or Andris Biedrins and finally, give up their leading scorer for Brandan Wright. Individually, all these moves (and non-moves) have understandable–even admirable–rationale, but taken as a whole, things could very well implode in the next couple months.

What happens if Nelson walks away? What happens if Baron sulks and/or gets injured? What happens if Monta and Andris become free agents? What happens if Wright is a flop and J-Rich soars in Charlotte?

Are any of these scenarios that implausible? Not really … the W’s are just rolling the dice.


Marco Belinelli Needs A Nickname

July 13, 2007

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Warriors’ first round draft pick Marco Belinelli has been the ragazzo d’oro (golden boy) of the Vegas Summer League, but so far, the Italian import has no good nicknames. According to his Wikipedia page (and his Italian version too), his only sopranome is “Beli.” Bo-ring!

Let’s change that.

Bay Area sports fans, it’s up to us to find our newest fan-favorite Warrior a nickname. Oh, and the first person to suggest “Italian Stallion” gets banned. Originality, people.

Here are a few ideas to get the juices flowing:

  • Il Tiratore: We saw this on GSoM. It means “the shooter” in Italian. It’s good, but we can do better.
  • Dio: God.
  • The Espresso Machine: Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson energized those Celtics Pistons team with “instant offense”; Belinelli will provide a similar offensive jolt for the Warriors off the bench.
  • Nellie’s Beli: This one really doesn’t make much sense, but it’s been thrown out there because it’s cute. Errrr, clever. Clever!
  • The Renaissance: Plus, you’ve got the duality of the Warriors’ own rebirth.
  • The Duro Euro: “Duro” means “hard” in Italian, and we know Marco’s not just another soft European in the mold of Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. But there are those, um, sexual undertones.
  • The Crazy Bolognese: It rhymes. If he proves to be the second coming of Mike Dunleavy on defense, the Lazy Bolognese.
  • Omerta: We like this one. Omerta is the Sicilian code for silence (usually in the context of mafia doings). When Belinelli nails a couple threes of the bench in Staples Center, the crowd will go silent. He will be a silencer.
  • Three Point Mafia: You know, like the Oscar winners.
  • Wop N’ Pop: This is actually more of a set play. Some teams have the pick n’ roll; look for Nellie to run the wop n’ pop, taking advantage of Marco’s shooting touch.
  • La Cosa Nostra: He’s our thing.
  • Sprezzatura: The Renaissance ideal of making the difficult look easy. The meaning fits, as Marco makes the game look easy, and the word is fun to say, but it’s a bit of a mouthful. This is one of our favorites, mostly because we like saying it. Sprezzatura.
  • EVOO: Yeah, we hate Rachael Ray, but MB’s game is smooth like olive oil.
  • Il Guerriero: Italian for “warrior.”
  • Intrepido!: It means “fearless.” If the summer league games are any indication, Belinelli is not scared to take the quick three or take it hard to the rim. Plus, we like the idea of Jim Barnett screaming “Intrepido!” after a Belinelli dunk.

We suspect that the more we see him play, the more ideas we’ll get. For now though, feel free to share your suggestions/votes.

Belinelli Shines In Warriors Debut. Molto.

July 9, 2007

Sure it’s just summer league, but Marco Belinelli was pretty darn impressive in the Warriors’ first game. The Italian highlights are above, and Winning the Turnover Battle has an excellent recap of Belinelli’s 37-point performance. Here’s an excerpt from their summary:

Belinelli was completely nasty yesterday but his stats, although impressive (37 pts, 5 rb, 2 ast), don’t do his performance justice. What is lost in those numbers are two things. First, Belinelli was extremely active on the defensive end, and although he only ended up with one steal in the game he was a menace in the passing lanes, deflecting numerous balls and exhibiting great quickness on the defensive end. The second thing that is misleading about those stats is Belinelli’s assist total. The only reason that Marco only had two assists was that his teammates missed a number of open shots and also appeared suprised by a number of brilliant long passes made by Belinelli. On four seperate occassions during the game Belinelli made half court passes to wide open shooters that left me stunned. Belinelli did not come in touted as a passer, but his court vision and general basketball IQ appeared to be exponentially higher than anyone else on the court. Belinelli also showed that he is entirely unafraid to shoot from anywhere on the court, as his 37 points came on a wide variety of threes, jumpers, and drives.

Considering the immense struggles of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, Belinelli’s shining performance is pretty impressive, even for summer league. Even more importantly, it looks like he will be able to contribute immediately, helping the W’s cushion the loss of Jason Richardson (and possibly/probably Mickael Pietrus and/or Matt Barnes). Also, Kelenna Azubuike (29 points) is making his case to fill the swingman void.

Oh, and in case you wondering, Patrick O’Bryant still sucks. He scored three. whole. points.

Like A Glove [Winning the Turnover Battle]

Game One Recap [Official Warriors Site]

Clip Of The Day: Marco Belinelli Can Do A 360° Dunk

July 6, 2007

All aboard!

–Belinelli Bandwagon

An Open Letter To Marco Belinelli

July 3, 2007

Caro Marco,

Buon giorno.

Sono molto felice che i Guerrieri l’hanno scelto. Avevo paura che Chris Mullin voleva un giocatore di merda dagli Stati Uniti, come Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy o Todd Fuller. Questa città gia ha avuto già abbastanza dolori.

Ma tu! Tu sei diverso! Lo so. Ho la fede. Veramente molto fede, perche questa squadra ‘e perfetta per te. Lo stilo Don Nelson (il nostro bello tecnico) e molto divertente, specialmente per una guardia come lei che ama l’offesa, un velocità rapida e i tre punti. Forse lei sarà la nostra versione di Manu Ginobili. Forse meglio? Ci vediamo.

Dopo il Draft, tu ha detto, “E’ stata una serata incredibile.” Anch’io ho pensato la questa cosa. Spero che sarebbe una stagione incredibile. L’anno scorso, i Guerrieri hanno fatti molto bene, ma questa stagione, ci sono molte aspettative. Tu puo contribuire immediatamente e ancora, ho la fede che tu aiuterei la nostra squadra.

Nel questo blog, tu hai già un ventilatore grande.


Migliori saluti,

“Dire Ciao”

P.S. Mi dispiace che la grammatica non ‘e perfetta. Non parlo mai qui nell’America, ma ora, c’e una ragione.

[La foto: NBA.com]

What To Think?

June 29, 2007

Ever since last night’s stirring chain of events, we’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster.

At first, we were utterly depressed, resigned that the Warriors were inevitably going to opt for another big white guy to join the likes of Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Todd Fuller.

Then we were absolutley elated when they chose Marco Belinelli out of nowhere. Mully, you sly fox you. The Italian guard appears to be a perfect fit in Nellie’s system. He shoots well (and often), can spread the floor, can finish on the break and might be the next Manu Ginobili.

Then we almost jumped off a bridge upon hearing that the W’s traded Jason Richardson for … Brandan Wright? Huh? Are you kidding me? Why would they trade a fan favorite, a loyal player and a pretty damn good scorer for an unproven, skinny kid who can’t shoot?

Then we were confused that the second round pick played on the national team for a country called “Gabon.” Cue the Googles. Turns out it’s a real country … in central Africa, FYI.

Then we were mad about the Wright move again. Isn’t the time to win now? He might be good later, but he was widely regarded as one of the top players not ready to contribute right away. Baron can’t hold up for more than two more years, wethinks.

Then we understood the move a bit. It gives the W’s a lot of cap space, and even though one might argue that J-Rich is the kind of player you make cap space for in the first place, perhaps the flexibility will allow the W’s to make a splash in the FA market this year or next. Rashard Lewis would certainly look pretty in a City throwback. As would Gerald Wallace.

In the end, we’re still not sure what to think about the Wright-Richardson trade, but we are sure of four things:

1. We’re firmly entrenched on the Marco Belinelli bandwagon.

2. Monta Ellis better step up.

3. The Warriors are not done wheeling and dealing.

4. We’ll miss Jason.

Warriors Pre-Draft Thoughts

June 28, 2007

https://i2.wp.com/www.draftexpress.com/gallery/YiJianlian/1135587152.jpgThe draft is upon us.

We’ve just gotten excellent news that Nellie is staying. Could this mean that they know something we don’t?

Mully and the Warriors have been extremely active on the phones thus far, as the rumor mill has been churning for weeks now, leading to tonight. Monta Ellis, Jason Richardson, Andris Biedrins and Adonal Foyle (really) have all been prominent in trade talks, with the W’s going hard after Chinese phenom Yi Jialian, who is projected to go anywhere from #3 to #11.

Our thoughts:

  • Keep J-Rich. Maybe we’re suckers for nice guys and loyalty, but how many NBA players take out full-page apologies? We’re also willing to bet that the jump-shooting, lay-up prone J-Rich we saw in the second half of last season will be replaced by a fully healthy, in-shape retro version next year. Which means dunks.
  • If Monta Ellis can get the Warriors in the Top 10, you have to consider it. If Atlanta is willing to swap the #3, pull the trigger and take Al Horford. Easy decision. If it comes down to Yi or even Joakim Noah for Ellis, we say roll the dice and do it. Yi and Noah have bust potential, but combo guards like Ellis are much easier to find than 7’0″ uber-athletic (yes, uber) guys who would be perfect in Nellie’s system: run, jump, catch alley-oop. Also consider Ellis’ injury history, his size (how many 6’0″ impure point guards have been successful in the league?), and the doubt that we’ll be able to resign him.

If we keep the #18 pick, the following players have been slotted in the draft range:

  • Thaddeus Young: A lefty leaper, Josh Smith Jr; but we have plenty of swingmen, unless we lose both Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus. Maybe.
  • Sean Williams: The big man who draws comparisons to Amare Stoudemire is easily the best defensive big man in the draft not named Greg. A Top Ten talent, but his checkered history is troubling. Check out this article on him. We’d roll the dice on Williams, hoping to get lucky at #18 and stealing the sleeper of the draft. But we don’t have to live with the consequences.
  • Jason Smith: Not another center who dominated in a second tier conference. We’ve been down this road before with Patrick O’Bryant, Adonal Foyle and Todd Fuller. Most mock drafts have the W’s taking Smith. Shudder. /negativity
  • Josh McRoberts: No.
  • Julian Wright: If he’s there, Mullin has to take him right? Most drafts have Wright going in the #8-#15 range, but some have him falling.
  • Petteri Koponen: Yeah yeah, too early for #18, but at #36, we hope he’s there. The Finnish point guard is a personal favorite and we will never ever forgive the W’s if they pass on him at #36. We’re rooting for him to fall, but we’d bet the house that a savvy team like the Spurs or Mavs snatch up the Flying Finn. Fall, Finn, Fall!
  • Other players we’d snatch up in the second round (we also have the #46) : Marco Belinelli, Jared Dudley (will be gone), Taurean Green, Marcus Williams, DJ Strawberry (if only for the Daaaaaarrrrrrylll, Daaaaaaaarrrrryll chants), Aaron Brooks (please please take him at #46), Michael Fey (just kidding)
  • Avoid: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Arron Afflalo (sorry Bruins), Aaron Gray